What Does The US Manufacture?

A popular meme is that the US doesn’t make anything anymore, that all the manufacturing is now done offshore.  While in some cases that is true, the actual story is different.  The US still makes stuff.  We still make a lot of stuff.  It’s just different kinds of stuff.  I’ve put together the table below showing what things we still make and what we don’t.  All data is compared to the year 1980 as that is when offshoring really became “vogue.”

Index, 2012 = 100
NAICS Industry 1980 Current % Gain/Loss from 1980
31-33 Total Manufacturing 46.5 105.7 127.1%
311 Food 64.3 104.3 62.3%
312 Beverage & Tobacco 107.4 97.7 -9.0%
313-316 Textiles & Apparel 162.4 106.4 -34.5%
321 Wood Products 89.1 110.4 24.0%
322 Paper 91.0 97.2 6.8%
323 Printing 79.9 102.6 28.3%
324 Petroleum & Coal Products 81.4 107.8 32.5%
325 Chemicals 59.7 102.7 72.0%
326 Plastics & Rubber Products 43.8 113.6 159.7%
327 Nonmetallic Mineral Products 97.2 111.3 14.5%
331 Primary Metal Manufacturing 109.3 102.7 -6.0%
332 Fabricated Metal Products 77.9 104.9 34.7%
333 Machinery Manufacturing 71.2 100.6 41.2%
334 Computer & Electronic Products 1.8 103.9 5604.1%
335 Electrical Equipment, Appliance, & Components 92.1 104.2 13.2%
336 Transportation Equipment 52.8 114.7 117.0%
337 Furniture Manufacturing 85.5 113.0 32.1%
339 Misc. Manufacturing 43.0 111.1 158.4%

Source: Federal Reserve BankUS Census Bureau

You’ll notice only 3 of the 18 major manufacturing sectors have experienced declines.  Anticipating an objection of “cherry picking” I plan to upload in the next few days a graphical representation of this same table that will show the same story: US manufacturing hasn’t disappeared.  But it has changed.

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